Translation of a text appearing in Tiqqun 1 in 1999.
What is Metaphysical Criticism?
“There is no longer any reality, only its caricature”
“We talked of the universe, its creation and also its future destruction.”
“It does not escape us that ‘metaphysical’- exactly like ‘abstract’ and even ‘thinking’- has become a word before which everyone more or less takes flight as before a plague-victim.” (Hegel). And it is assuredly with a shiver of wicked joyfulness, and a worrying certitude of going right to the wound, that we bring back into its center what the triumphant frivolity of the epoch believed to have forever repressed to its periphery. By this act, we have the advantage as well of claiming that it is not to some sophistical caprice that we submit to, but rather to an imperious necessity inscribed in history. Metaphysical Criticism is not more chattering on the course of the world, nor the latest speculation to date from the head of some particular intelligence, it is all that is most real contained in our times. Metaphysical Criticism is in all unexpressed feelings of our time. Whatever be our protestations on this subject, there is no doubt that it will try in one way or another to attribute to us the invention of Metaphysical Criticism, with the design of hiding this fact: that it existed already before finding its formulation, that it is similarly everywhere, from the state of emptiness in suffering, of denegation in diversion, of the motive in consumption, or from the evidence of anguish. It clearly belongs to this sordid spinelessness, to this incurable platitude, to the repugnant insignificance of this time called “modern” to have made metaphysics the leisure, under all appearances innocent, of the erudite in their false collars, and to have emasculated it to the sole exercise that comes to these insects: platonic mandibulation. By this lone aspect already, which is not reducible to its conceptual experience, Metaphysical Critique is the experience that fundamentally denies an inept “modernity”, and, with open eyes, celebrates each day a little more the excess of the disaster.
Act the First: “When the false becomes true, truth itself is no more than a mirage. When nothingness becomes reality, reality in its turn falls into nothingness.”
(inscriptions which figure in one part and another at the entry of the “Kingdom of Dream and immense illusion” in the Dream of the Red Chamber)
Occidental civilization lives by credit. It believed it could always endure without repaying the last of its lies. But at present it suffocates under their crushing dead weight. Thus, before coming to more substantial considerations, we must commence by making room for unburdening this world of one of its illusions, for example, that modernity has ever existed as such. It does not enter into our views to linger over indisputable facts. That even the term “modernity” today does not evoke, as a general rule, more than a bored irony, and this progressivist senility finally appears for what it has never ceased to be: the verbal fetish which the superstition of shitheads and simple spirits have surrounded the progressive accession of commodity relations to social hegemony since the pretend “Renaissance”, and that in favor of interests that we will explain only too well, one sees that which hardly merits exegesis. There is here a vulgar case of thuggery upon etiquette, of which we leave the elucidation to the sacristains of future historicism. Our business is far more grave. In that, the same as commodity relations have never existed as commodity relations, but only as relations among humans travestied into relations between things, so is that which calls, which believes, or is held for “modern” has never veritably existed in so much as modern. The essence of the economy, this transparent pseudonym under which capitalist modernity regularly tries to make itself pass for an eternity of evidence, is nothing economic; and in fact, its foundation, which holds itself equally well for a program, announces itself in these abrupt terms: NEGATION OF THE METAPHYSICAL, that is to say that what is transcendent for humanity is the efficient cause of immanence, be it, in other terms, that the world, for us, makes sense, the supersensible appearing in the sensible. This beautiful project is entirely contained in the aberrant but efficacious illusion that a complete separation between the physical and the metaphysical to be possible-a disjunction which most often takes the form of a hypostasis of the physical, erected into a model of all objectivity, and logically commands a myriad of local ruptures, between life and meaning, dream and reason, individual and society, means and ends, artists and bourgeois, intellectual work and physical labor, bosses and workers, etc. which are not, in their number, less absurd; each of these concepts becomes abstract and loses all content outside of living interaction with its contrary- now, such a separation being really, that is to say humanly, impossible, and the liquidation of humanity having thus far failed, nothing modern has ever existed as such. What is modern is not real, what is real is not modern. For in so much as there is truly a realization of this program, but at present as it perfects itself we also see that it is completely the contrary of what it thought it was, in a word: the complete de-realization of the world. And all the vastness of the visible carries from henceforth, by its vacillating character, the brutal evidence that the realized negation of the metaphysical is not in the end but the realization of a metaphysics of negation. The functionalism and inherent materialism of capitalist modernity have everywhere produced a void, but this void corresponds to the original metaphysical experience: that where the responses go beyond being, which permitted an orientation in this being have disappeared, anxiety flourishes and the metaphysical character of the world flowers under the eyes of all. Never has the sentiment of estrangement been so pregnant as before the abstract productions of a world that pretends to bury it under the unquestionable and immense opulence of its accumulated commodities. Places, clothes, words and architecture, faces, acts, looks and loves are but terrible masks that a sole and singular absence has invented to make our acquaintance. Nothingness has visibly taken quarters in the intimacy of things and beings. The smooth surface of spectacular appearances everywhere cracks under the effect of its own enlargement. The physical sensation of its proximity has ceased to be the ultimate experience reserved to some circles of mystics, it is on the contrary the only sensation that the capitalist world has left us intact, and at the same time decoupled from the programmed disappearance of all the others; it is true that it is also the only one that it had explicitly proposed to eliminate. All the products of this society- whether one thinks of the empty conceptuality of the Young-Girl, contemporary urbanism, or techno- are things that spirit has left, and who have survived beyond all meaning as beyond all reason for being. These are the signs that exchange themselves according to planned movements, that do not signify nothing, as the polite idiots of postmodernism prefer to believe, but rather Nothingness. All things of this world subsist in a perceptible exile. They are the victims of a slight but constant disappearance of being. Assuredly, this modernity which would have liked to be without mystery and which judged to have liquidated the metaphysical has rather realized it. This modernity has produced a décor made of pure phenomena, of pure beings that are nothing more than the simple fact of maintaining themselves, in their empty positivity, and who without respite provoke humanity to feel “the marvel of marvels: that being is” (Heidegger, What is Metaphysics?). In this ultramodern hall of mirrors, of marble and steel where hazard has led us, a small relaxing of the cerebral constriction will suffice for us to brutally see all existing gloss and introversion in a presence at the same time oppressive and floating, where nothing rests. The experience of All Otherness arrives to us in the manner of the most common circumstances, even in newly renovated boulangeries. A world spreads itself before us that can no longer support our glance. Anguish watches all the street corners. Now this disastrous experience where we emerge violently outside of the existing is nothing other than that of transcendence, at the same time as the irremediable negativity that we contain. It that is all the stifling “reality” of which the grand machinery that the social imposture works to establish the evidence of, that suddenly, that cowardly, sinks and makes room for the chasm of its nullity. This experience is nothing less than the foundation of the metaphysical, where this appears precisely as metaphysical, where the world appears as world. But the metaphysical that thus returns is not the metaphysics that the Spectacle had hunted, because it returns as metaphysical criticism, as conquering, as truth and negation of that which had vanquished the ancient metaphysics. Because the project of capitalist modernity is nothing, its realization is but the extension of the desert to the totality of existence. It is this desert that we will come to ravage.
Helplessly enthroned in the midst of the catastrophes that pile up around it, commodity domination feels no more at home in the singular state of things that it has, however, produced, and of which each detail makes it more contradicted. By domination we mean here nothing other than the symbolic relation between dominant and dominated, mediated by complicity; so much that there is for us little doubt that “the tormentor and the tormented make but one, that the one fools itself in believing it does not participate in torment, the other in believing it does not participate in fault”: to the back of the class, Bourdieu! This is sufficient to convince one to be attentive to the steps of our contemporaries, who make one think of a band of deserters running on their heels and spurred by their own metaphysical inquietude. It is henceforth for the Blooms a full-time job to remove themselves from the fundamental experience of nothingness, which ruins all simple faiths in the world. The derision of things menaces at every instant to submerge consciousness. Ignoring the forgetting of being, of which the retreat surrounds us in each banlieue, in each vagina as in each service-station, advertises forthwith the daily ingestion and quasi-lethal doses of Prozac, advertisements, and Viagra. But all these short-range remedies do not suppress anguish, they only mask it, and banish it to an obscurity propitious to its silent growth. Finally, female magazines must all the same, for selling their lies and their maladies, convince their readers that “the truth is good for health”, cosmetic multinationals are advised to place on their packaging “metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology”, TF1 erects the “quest for meaning”, as paying principle for its future programming, and Starck, that false light, assures La Redoute a few years of advancement of its sales in composing for it a “catalogue of non-products for the usage of non-consumers”. One imagines with pain just how much domination must be internally at a loss to arrive here. In these conditions, critical thought must cease to wait for the constitution of a mass revolutionary subject and the revelation of the imminent character of a social upheaval. It must rather learn to read this in the formidable explosion, over the course of the recent period, of the social demand for diversion. Such a phenomenon is a sign that the pressure of essential questions, for so long held in suspense, and with such profit, has traversed the threshold of the intolerable. Because, if the Spectacle diverts with so much furor, it is necessary that what is diverted must be something, and that this something must be becoming a haunting presence. “If man were happy, he would be the more so, the less he was diverted” (Pascal).
Supposing that the object that spread everywhere a so notable terror, and of which it could still deny the effective action so much as it is not named, must be Metaphysical Criticism- it is here a matter of a definition, maybe there will never be one given to us so clear and so comprehensible. The inoffensive sociologists are naturally not graced with organs that permit them to comprehend what returns here, no more so than the handful of poor aesthetes in vain indignation who vituperate the misery of the epoch from the height of their writing profession, and who, in consumption, only see consumption itself. It is not the extraordinary expanse of the disaster that one must think to contest, but the signification. The general terror of aging, the charming anorexia of women, the arrestation of living, the sexual apocalypse, the industrial administration of diversion, the triumph of the Young-Girl, the apparition of unprecedented and monstrous pathologies, the paranoiac isolation of egos, the explosion of acts of gratuitous violence, the fanatical and universal affirmation of the hedonism of the supermarket, all make an elegant litany for the paroxysms of all things. The exercised eye, in regard to this, does not see in all this accreditation of the eternal victory of the commodity and its empire of confusion, it divines rather the intensity of the general waiting, of the messianic waiting for the catastrophe, of the moment of truth which will finally put an end to the unreality of a world of lies. On this point as on many others, it is not superfluous to be Sabbatean.
From the point of view where we place ourselves, the resolute submersion of the masses into imminence and their uninterrupted flight into insignificance- all things that could make us so despair of the human race- cease to appear as positive phenomena that would have in themselves their truth, but are rather to be understood as purely negative movements, accompanying the forced exodus outside of the sphere of signification that the Spectacle has integrally colonized, outside of all figures, of all forms under which it is actually permitted to appear and that expropriates from us the meaning of our acts, like our acts themselves. But already this flight no longer suffices, and it must sell in individual packages the emptiness left by Metaphysical Criticism. New Age, for example, corresponds to its infinitesimal dilution, to its burlesque travesty that which commodity society attempts to immunize itself against. The fact of generalized separation (between sensible and supersensible as much as between humans), the project of restoring unity to the world, the insistence on the category of the totality, the primacy of spirit, or the intimacy with human pain combine themselves in a calculated fashion in a new commodity, in new techniques. Buddhism also belongs to the quantity of spiritual hygiene that domination must put in place for saving under whatever form positivism or individualism, so as to remain a little longer still in nihilism. At all hazards, the Spectacle resorts even to the moth-eaten banner of religions, of which it knows what a useful complement these can be for the terrestrial reign of all miseries- it is self-evident that while a weekly magazine of sectarians in sneakers ingenuously worries in covering whether “Will the 21st century be religious?” one must rather read “Will the 21st century come to repress Metaphysical Criticism?”; all the “new needs” that late capitalism flatters itself to satisfy, all hysterical agitation of its employees, and up to the extension of the consumer relation to the ensemble of human life, all the good news that it believes to give of the perennity of its triumph measures thus ever more the deepening of its failure, of suffering, and of anguish. And it is this immense suffering that peoples so many regards and hardens so many things that it must always anew, in a panting race, put to work in degrading to needs the fundamental tension of humans towards the sovereign realization of their virtualizations, a tension which does not cease to grow with the distance that separates them. But evading this exhausts it and its efficacity decreases rapidly. Consumerism comes no more to wipe away the excess of tears. Thus it must put into place techniques of selection always more ruinous and always more drastic to exclude from the wheels of domination those who can not ravage in themselves all propensity to humanity. Any of those who effectively participate in this society are not supposed to ignore what it could cost them to leave their veritable dolor publicly visible. However, in spite of these machinations, suffering has nonetheless continued to accumulate in the night foreclosed of intimacy, where it seeks gropingly, with obstinacy, a means to flow out. And as the Spectacle can not eternally forbid it to manifest itself, it must more and more often concede to suffering, but thus in travestying its expression, in designating planetary grieving one of its empty objects, one of its royal mummies of which the confection is its secret. Only suffering can not be satisfied with these doppelgangers. Thus it awaits patiently, as if hunting, the brutal suspension of the regular course of horror, where humans avow themselves of an unburdening without limits: “We all lack indisputably. We burst with nostalgia for being.” (Bloy, Belluaires et Porchers).
One will certainly understand better at present that we challenge all types of paternity for Metaphysical Criticism: it suffices for us to have opened our eyes to see it sketch itself between the lines of the surface of the epoch as its empty center. Metaphysical Criticism gives itself to whoever takes to heart to live with open eyes, who do not claim anything other than a particular obstinacy that the Spectacle has the custom to make pass for insanity. Because Metaphysical Criticism is rage to such a degree of accumulation that it becomes a regard, but such a regard that has cured all the miserable bewitchments of modernity and does not know the world as distinct from itself. It sees that, under their vulgar forms, materialism and idealism have lived, that “the infinite is as indispensable to man as the planet where he lives” (Dostoevski), and that even where the Spectacle seems to blossom in the most satisfied immanence, conscience is still present as inaudible sentiment of decay, as bad conscience. The Kojevian hypothesis of an “end of History” where man rests “in life as an animal that is in accord with Nature and given Being”, where “the post-historical animals of the species Homo Sapiens (who live in abundance and total security) would be content by virtue of their artistic, ludic, and erotic comportment, as by definition they contain it in themselves” and where will disappear the discursive knowledge of the world and self, has been revealed as being the utopia of the Spectacle, but it has also been revealed, as such, as unrealizable. There is manifestly nowhere for humanity to access the animal condition. Naked life is still for them a form of life. The unhappy “modern man” –let us pass by the oxymoron- who has such a virulent need to rid himself of the burden of liberty, begins to glimpse that this is impossible, that he can not renounce his humanity without renouncing life itself, that an animalized man is still not an animal. Everything, in the achievement of this epoch, leads one to believe that man can only survive in the element of reason. Nothing, like the pain that our contemporaries put themselves to divert, shows us at what point the possible that the human contains tends towards its own realization. Even their crimes are dictated by the desire to find an outlet for their faculties. Thus, thinking does not represent a duty, but an essential necessity, of which the non-accomplishment is suffering, that is to say a contradiction between possibilities and existence. Humans physically wilt in the negation of their metaphysical dimension. At the same time, it clearly appears that alienation is not a state into which humans are definitively submerged, but the incessant activity that the Spectacle must deploy to control them. Absence of consciousness is but the continual repression of consciousness. Insignificance still has a meaning. The complete forgetting of the metaphysical characteristic of all existence is certainly a catastrophe, but it is a metaphysical catastrophe. And it is the same observation that for far more than thirty years has imposed itself in the domain of thought. “Contemporary Analytic Philosophy strives to exorcise the metaphysical ‘myths’ and ‘phantasms’ such as Consciousness, Spirit, Will, and Ego by dissolving the content of these concepts into formulas that enunciate operations, realizations, forces, tendencies, particular and precise specializations. The result shows the strange manner in which it is impossible to destroy concepts.” (Marcuse, One-dimensional Man). The Metaphysical is the specter that has haunted the occidental male for five centuries, during which he has attempted to drown it in immanence, and at which he has not succeeded.
Act the Second: “The Truth must be said, the World must be shattered.” (Fichte).
For all that, the act of recognizing the forgetting of Being, and by that leaving nihilism, is nothing self-evident, nothing that is susceptible to a rational foundation; it is a question of a moral decision. Not abstractly, but concretely moral: because in the world of authoritarian commodities, where the renouncing of thought is the first condition of “social integration”, conscience is immediately an act, and an act for which it is usual that the Spectacle will judge it good to starve you, be it directly or indirectly, by the gracious office of those upon whom you depend. Now that all the repressive instances where morals alienated into morality have fallen into pieces, it is finally given to us to know in its original radicality what morals designates, as the unity of the morals of humans and the consciousness that they have of them, and as such the absolute enemy of this world. This could be explained in the following fashion in more decisive terms: one fights for the Spectacle, or for the Imaginary Party; between the two, there is nothing. All those who could accommodate themselves to a society that accommodates itself so well to inhumanity, all those who already find it a good thing to give their suffering, and that of their fellow sufferers, as the alms of their indifference, all those who speak of disaster as if it were a question of a new market with promising prospects- are not related to us. We hold their death to be desirable. We will certainly give them no grief for not devoting themselves to Metaphysical Criticism, something that could constitute, in so much as a discourse, a socially determined object, but for refusing to see its content of truth which being everywhere exceeds all particular determination. No alibi holds up in the face of such blindness, metaphysical aptitude is the most shared thing in the world: “one does not need to be a shoemaker to know if a shoe will fit you” (Hegel); refusing to exercise this aptitude constitutes, in the present conditions, a permanent crime. And this crime, the denegation of the metaphysical character of that which is, has benefited from such a durable and general complicity that it has become revolutionary to formulate principles a priori to which is founded all human experience. It is necessary for us here to recall these, to the shame of the times.
1.As all maladies are manifestly not the sum of their symptoms, the world is manifestly not the sum of its object, of “that which is the case”, nor of its phenomena, but is rather a character of humanity itself. The world exists, in so much as world, only for humankind. Inversely, there is no humanity without the world, the situation of the Bloom is a transitory abstraction. Everyone finds themselves always already projected into a world of which they have the experience as a dynamic totality and of which, starting out, there is necessarily a precomprehension, however rudimentary this may be. Their simple conservation demands this.
2.The world is a metaphysic, that is to say that the way in which it presents itself at first, its pretend objective neutrality, its simple material structure already participates in a certain metaphysical interpretation that constitutes it. The world is always the product of a mode of unveiling that makes things enter into presence. Something like the “sensible” does not exist for humans save in relation with a supersensible interpretation of that which is. Evidently, this interpretation does not exist in a separate fashion, it finds itself nowhere outside of the world, since it is that which configures the world. All that is visible reposes on the invisibility of this representation, which is rooted in that which is given to see, and which in unveiling veils. The essence of the visible is thus nothing visible. This mode of unveiling, as imperceptible as it may be, is far more concrete than all the colored abstractions that the Spectacle would like to make pass for “reality”. The given is always the posed, it takes its being from an original affirmation of Spirit: “the world is my representation”. In their heart, that is to say in their emergence, humanity and the world coincide.
3.The sensible and the supersensible are fundamentally the same, but in a differentiated fashion. To forget one of these terms to hypostatize the other has as a consequence rendering both of them abstract: “to destitute the supersensible equally suppresses the purely sensible and, in so doing, the difference between the two” (Heidegger).
4.Primitive human intuition is but the intuition of representation and imagination. Pretended sensible immediacy is behind it. “Men commence by seeing thing only such as they appear to them and not such as they are; by seeing in things not themselves, but the ideas that they make of it” (Feuerbach, Philosophy of the Future). The ideology of the “concrete”, which fetishizes according to its different versions the “real, “authentic”, “quotidian”, the “little nothings”, the “natural” and other “slices of life”, is but the degree zero of metaphysics, the general theory of the world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic under a popular form, its spiritualist point of honor, its moral sanction, its ceremonial complement, and its universal motive of consolation and of justification.
5. From all evidence, “man is a metaphysical animal” (Schopenhauer). By that, one must not only understand that he is this being for which the world makes sense just in his insignificance, or of which the unease does not let itself be appeased by anything finished, but eminently that all his experience is woven in a fabric that does not exist. See why systems properly materialist, the same as absolute skepticism, never could by themselves exercise a profound good or a durable influence. Humans can certainly, over long periods, refuse to consciously perform metaphysics, and this is most often how it is, but it can not completely come to pass. “Nothing is so portable, if one wants, as metaphysics. . .And what would be difficult, and even rigorously impossible, would be to not have it, it would be that someone could not have their metaphysics or at least metaphysics…only, not only does all the world not have the same, which is all too evident, but all the world does not have the same kind, nor the same degree, nor the same nature, nor the same quality.” (Peguy, Situations).
6.The metaphysical is not the simple negation of the physical, but symmetrically its foundation and its dialectical surpassing. The prefix meta- that signifies equally well “with” as “beyond”, does not have the meaning of a disjunction, but of an Aufhebung in the Hegelian sense. Hence the metaphysical is nothing abstract, because it is that which founds all concreteness, it is what holds itself behind the physical and makes it possible. It “surpasses nature to attain that which is hidden in or behind itself, but it does not consider this hidden element but as appearing in nature and not independently of all phenomena” (Schopenhauer). The metaphysical designates thus the simple fact that the mode of unveiling and the object unveiled remain in an original sense “the same thing”. Therefore it is not, in its ensemble, anything other than experience in so much as experience and is only possible in starting from a phenomenology of everyday life.
7. The successive defeats that mechanical science has not, for a century, ceased to wipe away and repress, on the front of the infinitely grand as on the front of the infinitely small, have definitively condemned the project of establishing a physics without metaphysics. And it is again necessary, after so many foreseeable disasters, to recognize with Schopenhauer that the physical explanation refuses to see that “as such, it needs a metaphysical explanation that gives it the key to all of its suppositions. . .coming everywhere to collide with a metaphysical explanation that suppresses it, that is to say it takes away its character of explanation.” “The naturalists try hard to show that all phenomena, even spiritual phenomena, are physical, and in this, they are right; their error, is to not see that all physical things are on the other side equally metaphysical.” It is as a bitter prophecy that we read these lines: “the more the progress of the physical will be large, more forcibly will it feel the need of a metaphysics. In effect, if, for one part, a more exact, understood, and more profound knowledge of nature undermines and finishes by overturning the metaphysical ideas; in the course of this it will thus serve on another part to put more clearly and completely in relief the problem of the metaphysical, in freeing it most severely from all physical elements.”
8. Commodity metaphysics is not a metaphysics among so many others, it is the metaphysics that denies all metaphysics and above all itself as metaphysical. It is also why it is, among all, the worst metaphysics, that which would sincerely like to pass itself for a simple physics. Contradiction, that is to say falsity, is its most durable and distinctive character, as that which affirms so categorically that it is but a pure negation. Nihilism corresponds to the historic period of the explanation of this metaphysics, and to its nullity. But this explanation must itself be explained. One more time for everyone: there is no commodified world, there is only the commodified viewpoint of the world.
9. Language is not a system of signs, but the promise of a reconciliation of words and things. “Its universals are the first elements of experience, they are not so much philosophic concepts as they are real qualities of the world such that we confront every day. . .Each substantial universal tends to express qualities that surpass all particular experience, but which persist in spirit, not under the form of a fiction of the imagination nor under the form of logical possibilities, but as substance, as the ‘matter’ of which our world is made.” From whence it follows that the operation by which a concept designates a reality constitutes at the same time a negation and a realization of this. “The concept of beauty understands all beauty that is not yet realized; the concept of liberty, all the liberty that is not yet attained.” (Marcuse, One Dimensional Man). Universals have a normative character, which is why nihilism has declared war on them. “L’ens perfectissimum is at the same time l’ens realissimum. The more a thing is perfect, the more it is.” (Lukacs, Soul and Form). The excellent is more real, more general than the mediocre, because it realizes more fully its essence: the concept unifies a variety, but it unifies it in aristocratizing it. Critical thought is that which affects the departure of nihilism starting from the profane transcendence of language and the world. For it, the transcendent is that the world is, and the inexpressible that there is language. An uncommon faculty of conflagration attaches itself to the consciousness that observes its times inclined on the banks of such nothingness. Each time that it will find that language for communicating itself, history will conserve the mark. It is essentially important to make efforts in this direction. Language constitutes the stakes as the theater of the decisive part. “It will also be a question of uniquely knowing if one can reconcile words and life, and how.” (Brice Parain, Sur La Dialectique).
10. The “categorical imperative to overturn all the conditions in which man is a humiliated, enslaved, abandoned, and contemptible creature,” this lone definition of man as a metaphysical being, that is to say open to the experience of sense, can found such a definition. It is such that even the earthworm of intelligence that Hans Jonas will remain for his entire existence has not failed to recognize it: “Philosophically, metaphysics has fallen into disgrace in our days, but we would not know it in passing; also it would be necessary for us to risk it once more. Because it alone is capable to tell us why man must be, and thus has not the right to provoke its disappearance from the world or to permit by simple negligence; and also how man must be so as to honor and not betray reason by virtue of which he must be. . .where the renovated necessity of the metaphysical which must, by its visions, arm us against blindness” (On the ontological foundation of a future ethics).
11. Be it said in passing, reality is the unity of reason and life.
12. All that is separated remembers when it was unified, but the object of this memory holds itself in the future. “Spirit is that which finds itself, and thus what was lost”.
13. Human liberty has never consisted of being able to go, come, and pass the time as one pleases- this belongs rather to the animal, which the Spectacle thus says, very significantly, “in liberty”- but to give oneself form, to realize the figure one contains, or that one wants. Being signifies keeping one’s words. All of human life is but a bet on transcendence.
The spectacle could, as in the past, treat similar pronouncements with the special and amused scorn that the philistine has always reserved to considerations apparently deprived of all effectivity. But meanwhile, the metamorphoses of domination have conferred on them a disagreeably quotidian concreteness. The definitive and historic collapse in 1914 of the really existing liberalism forced commodity society, to maintain the fiction of its evidence, to defend itself from the revolutionary assaults that made clear in all occidental countries the incapacity of the economic point of view of understanding all of humanity, and at last for assuring the abstract reproduction of its relations, to methodically colonize in urgency all the spheres of reason, all the territory of appearance and finally, as well, the entire field of imaginary creation. In a word, it had to invest the totality of the metaphysical continent for the sole aim of assuring its earthly hegemony. Certainly, the simple fact that the same moment of its apogee, the 19th century, was not dominated by harmony, but by the absolute yet absolutely false hostility of the figures of the Artist and the Bourgeois, constituted themselves a sufficient proof of its impossibility, but only the great disasters in which were bathed the first decades of this century had charged its absurdity with enough pains so that the entire edifice of civilization seemed to shake. Commodity domination thus learned from those who contested it that it could no longer content itself with considering humanity as a simple worker, as an inert factor of production, but that it rather had to, so as to remain as such, organize all that understood itself to be exterior to the strict sphere of material production. Whatever was its repugnance on this point, it had to impose a brusque accelerando to the process of socialization of society and take in hand all that of which it had until now denied the existence, all that it had disdainfully left to “non-productive activity”, “private fantasy”, to art and to “metaphysics”. In the space of a few years and without notable resistance at first, Publicity had entirely passed under the arbitration of the spectacular protectorate- it is a general fact that the pursuit of ancient offensives is rarely recognized when they arm themselves with totally new means. The commodified interpretation of the world having been revealed by facts as insane, it thus undertook to place itself into facts. The mystique of commodities, which postulated formally and externally the general equivalence of all things, and the universal exchangeability of all, having been perceived in its day as pure negation, as a morbid arrestation, it resolved to render all things really equivalent, and beings internally exchangeable. The systematic liquidation of all that, in immediacy, concealed a transcendence (communities, ethos, values, language, history) having dangerously placed humanity facing the demand of liberty, it decided to industrially produce shoddy transcendences, and to traffic them for the price of gold. We hold ourselves at the other extremity of this long night of aberration. Because even as it was its failure that, in the past, created the bases of the infinite extension of the world of the economy, the same contemporary accomplishment of this universal extension announces its next collapse.
This critical process of the realization of impoverished market metaphysics had been diversely designated by the concepts of “total mobilization” for Junger, the “Grand Transformation” of Polanyi, or the “Spectacle” for Debord. For the moment, we will have a more willing recourse to this last concept that rests indisputably, in so much as a figure that penetrates the transversal manner of all the spheres of social activity and where the object unveiled confuses itself with its mode of unveiling, of these machines which it would please us to use. If the Figure does not leave itself to be deduced simply by its manifestations, being itself that which founds them, it is nonetheless useful to note at least the most superficial of these. It is thusly that advertising advised in the 1920’s, in the terms of its first ideologues, Walter Pitkin and Edward Filene, to inculcate in the Bloom “a new philosophy of existence”, to present to them the world of consumerism as “the world of facts” with the declared intention to thwart the communist offensive. The calibrated production of cultural commodities and their massive circulation- the lightning deployment of the cinema industry has on this point the value of an example- is charged with joyfully tightening the control of behaviors, of diffusing the modes of life adapted to the new demands of capitalism and above all to spread the illusion of their viability. Urbanism dutifully set out to build the physical environment commanded by the Weltanschauung of the commodity. The formidable development of the means of communication and transportation in these years commenced to concretely abolish space and time, which had opposed an unfortunate resistance to the universal putting into equivalence of all things. Mass media began the process by which they had to, little by little, concentrate themselves as an autonomous monopoly of meaning. They then had to spread out the totality of the visible under a particular mode of unveiling, of which the essence is to confer on the state of things the vigor of an unshakeable objectivity, and by that to model to the level of a type a relation to the world founded on the postulated assent to that which is. It must also be noted that the first literary mentions of the repressive function of the Young-Girl, by Proust, Kraus, or Gombrowicz, multiplied in this epoch. Finally, in a contemporaneous fashion there appeared in productions of spirit the figure of the Bloom, so notable in Valery, Kafka, Musil, Michaux or Heidegger.
This terminal phase of capitalist modernity presents itself in a necessarily contradictory light, because in this process it denies itself at the same time as it realizes itself. On one side, each of its advances contributes, at this stage, to ruin a little more its proper foundation, the negation of the metaphysical, in other words the strict disjunction between the sensible and the supersensible. With the virtually infinite extension of the universe of experience, “the content of speculations. . .tends to have a sense more and more real; upon the base of technology, the metaphysical tends to become physical” (Marcuse, One Dimensional Man). The separation of the sensible and the supersensible finds itself each day further bankrupted by the new realizations of industry. “The marvelous and the positive contract a shocking alliance, and these two ancient enemies beg us to engage our existences in a career of indefinite transformations and surprises. . .The real no longer ends clearly. Place, time, and matter admit liberties of which we have hardly any presentiment. Rigor engenders dreams. Dreams take shape. . .The fabulous is in commerce. The fabrication of marvels by machines makes millions of individuals live,” remarked Valery in 1929 with the disarming naivety of a time when the meaning of life had not yet become the most hackneyed sales pitch, nor a common consumer good in the shopping basket. Even during the realization of abstraction- in the mimetic comportment of the hip youth, the televised image where the new city offers to the view of all the evidently physical character of the metaphysical; Biopower, a differentiated moment of the Spectacle, shamefully avows its political character, and there is a “metaphysical nugget present in all politics” (Carl Schmitt, Theological Politics), in the most coarse physicality, in “naked life”. Under this relation, it is very much a question of a process of reunification of the sensible and the supersensible, of meaning and life, of the mode of unveiling and the object unveiled, which means the achieved disowning of that upon which commodity society founds itself, but at the same time this reunification operates on the terrain of their separation. It follows that this pseudo-reconciliation is not that passage of each of these terms into the other to a superior level, but rather their pure and simple suppression, which does not reunited them as united, but only reunites them as separated. So well that, on the other side, the Spectacle presents itself as the realization of commodity metaphysics, as the realization of nothingness. The commodity becomes here effectively the form of appearance of all manifestations of life, the form of objectivity in so much as object and subjects- love, for example, appears from now on as the regulated exchange of fucking, favors, sentiments, of which each contracting party must ideally receive an equal benefit. The Spectacle no longer contents itself to bind externally, with the mediation of money, processes independent of it. The commodity, this “thing supersensible although sensible” (Marx), transforms into something sensible although supersensible. It imposes itself really as “universal category of total social being” (Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness). Little by little, its “ghostly objectivity” comes to coat everything that is. On this point, the commodified interpretation of the world, which has no other content than the affirmation of the quantitative substitutability of all things, that is to say the negation of all qualitative difference and all real determination, reveals itself as the negation of the world. The principle according to which “everything has a price” had certainly always been the morbid refrain of nihilism before becoming the global hymn of the economy. Hence, and it is there a quotidian experience that it is no longer given to anyone to shirk from, to merge this interpretation of the world in the facts would consist in an exclusive way of trimming everything of all quality, purging each being of all particular signification, reducing all to the non-differentiated identity of the general equivalence, which is to say, neither more nor less, to nothing. There is here no longer this or that; and of singularity, it remains only an illusion. What appears henceforth does not arrange itself any more to a superior organic-ness, but gives itself over with an infinite abandon to the simple fact of being, without being anything. Under the effect of this promising disaster, the world has finished by covering itself with the aspect of a chaos of empty forms. All the discourses that one could read earlier in the document, and that the Spectacle reputedly cut off from all effectiveness, take form in the ensemble of a tangible, oppressive, and to sum up, diabolical reality. In the Spectacle, the metaphysical character of existing is apprehended as central evidence: the world here has become visibly metaphysical. And this is as far as the most confined spirits, those who had the custom to hide in the comfortable objectivity of the rain or good weather, of whom it becomes impossible to speak of without having to immediately evoke the decline of industrial society. There, the light has solidified, the incomprehensible mode of unveiling that produced all being has had itself incarnated as such, that is to say independent of all content, in a proper and sprawling sector of social activity. That which makes visible here has itself become visible. Phenomena, in autonomizing what they manifest themselves as, that is to say manifesting as nothing, here immediately appear in so much as phenomena. The milieu of existence for humanity, the metropolis, proves to be itself a “linguistic formation, a constituted frame before all by objective discourses, pre-established codes, materialized grammars.” (Virno, The Labyrinths of Language). Finally, the “communication question” is becoming even the material of the act of producing, the reality of language is ranged here among the number of things that can attest to leisure. In this sense, the Spectacle is the last figure of metaphysics, where this becomes objective as such, becomes visible and shows itself to humanity as the material evidence of the fundamental alienation of the Shared. It is, in these conditions, the metaphysical dimension that escapes humanity, erects itself in front of it and oppresses it. But equally well, before humanity is completely non-alienated, it can not concretely apprehend this, nor accordingly can humanity plan to re-appropriate itself. The most somber days give us the largest hopes, precisely because these are the eves of victories.
From the moment when it was incarnated, the economy must perish. It falls under the harsh law of the mortal realm, and it knows this. In the overthrow of all things, in the chasms that we see open up everywhere, we guess already the traces of its next shipwreck. From now on, commodity domination finds itself engaged in a war without end and is without hope to become an obstacle to this process. The question is no longer to know if it will die, but specifically when it will die. Life in the midst of such an order, which has renounced all other ambition save that for lasting a little longer, distinguishes itself by the extreme sadness that attaches itself to all its manifestations. Here, the survival of commodity domination, which is but the prolongation of its agony, finds itself entirely suspended to this meager occurrence of that which is visible must not be seen; also it must exercise on the totality of that which is an always more brutal arrestation. Its sovereignty only deploys itself under the constant menace that it will make explicit its metaphysical character, that it will be recognized for what it is: a tyranny, and the most mediocre that ever was, the tyranny of servitude. Everywhere the efforts of domination for maintaining an interpretation of the world that, being realized, finds itself in its turn put under interpretation orients itself towards brute force. The naturalization of the mode of commodified unveiling has assuredly, as in the past, demanded a constant dose of violence in regard to humans and things. It had to raze, intern, enslave, enclose, brutalize or deport all the mass of phenomena that contradicted commodity nihilism. For the others, their apprenticeship from the point of view of reification, of utility, of separation, and the general putting into equivalence becomes simply suffering, and for as long as their lives in an uninterrupted fashion. But it is at present a new configuration of hostilities that comes to light. Commodity domination can no longer content itself to maintain the congealed state of all things, to see to it that alienation, corruption and exile are all self-evident, and repressing in humanity all aspiration towards being. It must progress at a forced march, even though each step it makes in the direction of its perfecting only brings closer the moment of its death. One must consider that with Biopower, which under the cover of ameliorating, simplifying and lengthening “life”, the “body”, or “health”, leads to a total social control of behaviors, it has played its last card: in leaning on the cardinal illusion of common sense, the immediacy of the body, it has achieved the destruction of this illusion. After that, all has become suspect. His own body appears to the Bloom as a stranger’s that he must inhabit against his will. In putting its survival as the price of the putting to work of the metaphysical, commodity domination has robbed this terrain of its neutrality, which alone guaranteed it could advance victorious: it had made of the metaphysical a material force. To each of its progresses will henceforth respond a substantial rebellion that will go toe-to-toe to oppose its faith, and which will proclaim in one tone or another that humanity “can not be revived save by a metaphysical act that reanimates the spiritual element that humanity creates in its primitive existence or maintains under its ideal form” (Lukacs). Therefore the capitalist order, which takes on water everywhere, will have to physically eliminate, one by one, extremism or sects, each independent metaphysical universe that comes to manifest itself, until the unification and victory of the Imaginary Party. All the individuals that refuse to abandon themselves in their half-starved immanence, in the nothingness of diversions, all those who tarry to renounce their own most human attributes, in particular all worry that goes beyond being, will be excluded, banished, and starved. For the others, they must be maintained in an always more ferocious fear. More than ever “the holders of power live with this terrifying idea that not only some loners, but entire masses could evade fear: this will be their certain fall. It’s also the true reason for their rage before all doctrines of transcendence. The supreme danger is hidden there: that man might lose his fear. There are regions on the earth where the word itself, metaphysics, is treated as a heresy.” (Junger, Passage de la ligne). In this ultimate metamorphosis of the social war, where it is not only the classes, but more so “metaphysical castes” (Lukacs, Of the Poverty in Spirit) that fight, it is inevitable that humans, first by handfuls, then in greater numbers, reunite around the explicit project of politicizing the metaphysical. This is today the signal for the next insurrection of Spirit.
Act the Third: “One must hold oneself where destruction is not understood as final point, but as preliminary.” (Junger, Le Travailleur)
In the Spectacle, at the moment where commodity domination reveals its metaphysics and is revealed as metaphysical, its veritable contestation, past and present, is brought into plain light and unveils itself in its turn as such. It’s thus that also appears its lineage with the messianic movements, millenarisms, mystics, the heresies of the past or even with the Christians before Christianity. All the “modern” revolutionary thought is resolved before our eyes into the encounter of German Idealism with the concept of Tiqqun, which designates in the Lurianic Kabbalah, the process of redemption, of the restoration of the unity to meaning and life, of the reparation of all things by the actions of humans themselves. In regards to its pretended “modernity”, it was not in the end anything other than the repression of its fundamentally metaphysical character. From whence comes the ambiguity of the work of a Marx or a Lukacs, for example. It is written that that the Spectacle, where we have seen the conceptual violence of idealism transmute into real, physical violence, reputes as “idealist” this precise aspect of the thought of those that it has not arrived at suppressing in time. There is the criteria upon which to distinguish the consequent critique of pseudo-contestation, which always rejoins this society in relentlessly evacuating the Inexpressible from the politically expressible. Bastards can infallibly recognize themselves in the rage that they place in understanding nothing, seeing nothing, and understanding nothing. As long as they live, anguish, suffering, the experience of nothingness, the sentiment of strangeness of all that passes, just like the innumerable manifestations of human negativity, will be dismissed from the doors of Publicity, with a smile and a company of riot police. As long as they are living, they will be reputed by the Spectacle to be invalids. The historic window that opens at the present is the psychological moment to bring to light the content of truth of all past and present critique, that is to say the power to ravage. Commodity domination in coming to openly give battle on the metaphysical terrain demands that its contestation must place itself on this terrain. There is a necessity which also has as little in common with the good will of militants as with the resolution of their cardboard theoreticians: it holds that this society itself has need of this battle to find work for all its accumulated technical powers. Now comes a race of speed where we can no longer content ourselves to apply criticism, but where we must rather commence by creating it. It is a question of making criticism possible and nothing else. Metaphysical Criticism is thus not an object that enters on the world scene in its definitive splendor. It is that which elaborates itself and will elaborate itself in the fight against the present order. Metaphysical Criticism is the determined negation of commodity domination.
Whether this negation manifests itself without betraying itself, or whether its forces will be once more detourned for serving the measured extension of the disaster, it does not raise itself on a compensation for any necessity, but only of the melancholic determination of certain free elements linked by the determination to get from their conscience a practical usage, in other words, to sow in the world of the Spectacle a Terror inverse to that which presently reigns. However, the simple fact that it can no longer have a contestation of detail, before this real that has taken a turn so perfectly systematic, does not let any ambiguity subsist in regards to the terrible radicality of the epoch. Criticism has no other choice than to seize things by the roots; now, the root, for man, is his metaphysical essence. Ergo, when domination consists in occupying Publicity, constructing from all pieces a world of facts, a system of conventions and a mode of perception independent of all other relations than its own, its enemies recognize themselves in the double ambition to everywhere make explode the aura of familiarity of that which still passes for “reality”, in unveiling it as a construction, and to create, in the withdrawals of the present semiocratic tyranny, spaces symbolically autonomous of the public state of exception, strangers to it, but pretending like it to a universal validity. We must in all places become part of One. In this we do well to work according to our own penchants, in revealing the Young-Girl as a political technique of coercion, the economy as ritual of black magic, the Bloom as criminal saintliness, the Imaginary Party as the carrier of a hostility as invisible as it is absolute, or the corner boulangerie as a supernatural apparition. The central thing it to affect all that the Spectacle says, all that it does and all that it sees of its natural factor of unreality. This world will cease to be monstrous when it ceases to be self-evident. Also all our theories are themselves written into everyday life, where they must always and still draw this familiarity so that it comes to make us uneasy. Our maniacal interest for “diverse facts” could be related to this, because it is the habitual itself that roots out from the everyday that which, all of a sudden, makes the varnish come off. The limpid and blind violence of a Kipland Kinkel or an Alain Oreiller testifies to the mortal doses of this negative truth of humanity, that the planned banality of everyday life invariably applies itself to strangle. In this offensive, language constitutes, up to a certain point, the field of battle, of which it is a matter, for us, of mining. This choice is nothing arbitrary, it rests on the observation that domination, which is obliged to invade, will never be at ease. If by certain aspects, the present efficacity of the economy, as its apparent perennity, rest upon the free manipulation of signs, and their reductions operates a signal, it appears just as clearly that the definitive success of this reduction will be its death. So that domination can still handle them as its vehicles, the signs must conceal some sense, that is to say a transcendence which carries in one fashion or another beyond the actual state of things and the menace of hopelessness. There is there a contradiction; an open wound that, exploited with enough malevolence, is of the nature to cause death. We will administer it.
By so many of its aspects, Metaphysical Criticism pursues and achieves the work of undermining undertaken with success by nihilism for five centuries. The constancy with which all simple faith in reality found itself, quarter by quarter, first shaken, then damaged, and finally ruined, is no stranger to it; it feels no regrets. Metaphysical Criticism has no vocation for procuring humanity a new and refined type of consolation. But rather, its watchword is to GENERALIZE UNEASE. Metaphysical Criticism is itself this uneasiness that does not leave itself any longer to be understood as weakness, or as vulnerability, but as that from which all force emanates. It is not made to bring security to the weak who have need of help, but to lead them to combat. It is like the weapon which no one can say who it will serve, save those who seize it themselves. There is in each life that maintains itself in contact with Being a power of devastation, of which the Spectacle does not measure the intensity. The trial that so many others before us have engaged against the real was won in the past by the enemy. This is why, on this bad path, we hold as a preliminary the pulverization of the last palpable structure of apprehension of existing: the quantitative abstract form of the commodity has become “ for reified consciousness the form of appearance of its own immediacy, that it does not try- in so much as reified consciousness- to surpass it, that it makes on the contrary, by ‘scientific study’, systems of comprehensible laws to fix and to render eternal,” (Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness). To make mad the wisdom of the world is indisputably part of our program, but it is only the first line. Metaphysical Criticism is rather “this spiritual movement that takes nihilism for its terrain and models itself on it, reflecting it in Being,” (Junger, Traite du Rebelle), this necessary force that means to overturn commodity hegemony in revealing it as metaphysical. Only this act of reflecting, to make reality appear as interpretation, as construction, this fashion of showing that the essence of nihilism is nothing nihilist, already advances beyond nihilism. Everywhere it takes its glance, Metaphysical Criticism affects the being of a sign contrary to the dominant convention. All reality that relates to it brusquely changes its meaning; the proportions invert themselves: all that appears as a remainder in the margin of the Spectacle finds itself as the most real thing, what it regarded yesterday still as the world is changed to its miniscule misery, that which appears firmly established begins to totter, what seemed as if it could hardly have more consistency than the air acquires a rock-hard presence. In this manner Metaphysical Criticism makes visible the insignificance where the Spectacle, this false, because abstract, unity of meaning and life, had cast all being- not as a fact insignificant in itself, but as a political situation of servitude, a concrete form of social oppression. So doing, it puts this insignificance into possession of a coefficient of reality of which nothing, in this world, can boast of. But it is in truth all the non-identity that had been repressed in the penumbra of the infraspectacular world, all that was neither expressible nor admissible in the dominant mode of unveiling, that it makes enter into presence, that it makes audible, and by that, real. Metaphysical Criticism creates, in starting from nothing, a more true, compact, and fit plenitude than the apparent plenitude of the Spectacle: the plenitude of dereliction, the absolute of the disaster. In unveiling to human suffering its political significance, it abolishes it as such and makes it the presage of a superior state. This goes equally well for anguish, where it is existence itself that carries itself beyond the existing: the one time this experience is propelled to the heart of Publicity, the end as such gives way and recovers itself as sign of the infinite. But the transfiguration of which Metaphysical Criticism is the synonym operates first of all in humanity that finds itself dispossessed of all that it could believe was its own, in the Bloom who also recognizes the shared nothingness that remains to him as the only thing that he ever had for his own in the final account: his indestructible metaphysical faculty. The notion of the Imaginary Party, to close, gives form to this residue, to this remainder, to non-coincidence, to all that falls outside of the universal plan of the economy, of inspection and Total Mobilization. In this way, at the same time that it is the doctrine of transcendence alone that permits liberation from and destruction of this world, at the same time that it composes the prolegomena to all future insurrections, at the same time, thus, that it affirms itself as the determined negation of commodity domination, Metaphysical Criticism already contains in its present manifestation the positive surpassing that leads beyond the zones of destruction. “Each man, one says, exercises a certain intellectual activity, adopts a vision of the world, a deliberate line of moral conduct, and in this way contributes to defend and make prevail a certain vision of the world” (Gramsci, Intellectuals and Cultural Organization). In consequence, Metaphysical Criticism will come to impose itself as an always more untreatable and more virulent summons given to each Bloom to carry in his conscience the vision of the world underlying his mode of life, then, in rejecting or appropriating it, to recognize his friends and enemies, which at bottom is to say to awaken in the world. We will not leave anyone the leisure of ignoring the signification of their existence. Everything depends on everything. We will make man lose his taste for consuming. Metaphysical Criticism is not content to consider things from the point of view of Tiqqun, in other words of the unity of the world, the final realization of all things, the immanence of reason in life; it produces by its practical and exemplary character this unity, this realization and this immanence. It is itself part of the world of the Tiqqun. Metaphysical Criticism is in its everyday existence the point of view where the Beautiful, the Good and the True have ceased to be perceived contradictorily. Because nihilism is nothing else than the “provisional loss of the opening in which a certain interpretation of being constitutes itself as interpretation” (Junger) and as Metaphysical Criticism presents itself as a general injunction to determine oneself starting from the metaphysical character of the world, it constitutes according to its own course the achievement and the surpassing of nihilism, being, in the terms of that old bastard Heidegger, “The Appropriation of the metaphysical”, “The Appropriation of the forgetting of Being”. It determines at first to put the world at a distance as representation and “takes first of all the appearance of a bypassing of metaphysics. . .But what is produced in the appropriation of the metaphysical, and in it alone, is rather that the truth of metaphysics expressly returns, the durable truth of an apparently repudiated metaphysics, which is nothing else but its henceforth reappropriated essence: its Dwelling. What happens here is something other than a restoration of the metaphysical,” (Heidegger, Contribution to the Question of Being).
For the community of critical-metaphysicians, there is henceforth nothing more concrete than this Appropriation and this Dwelling, even if they still present themselves provisionally under the form of problems to resolve, rather than immediately given solutions. In the measure of constraints that this society imposes on them, it is not to be doubted that they will construct somewhere in the crevices of metropolises a really, that is to say, collectively practiced ethos where “the Metaphysical will be made a part of everyday life” (Artaud). One would be wrong to denounce here a comfortable alternative to the armed offensive. Contrary to what certain hasty leftists would have us believe, in the current conditions, the immediate stakes of revolutionary practice are not the frontal combat against commodity domination, because this is inexorably crumbling, “and that which crumbles, crumbles, but can not be destroyed” (Kafka). Thus one must instead leave this whore to its insipid decomposition and prepare oneself to flank it, and, the moment come, to deliver the fatal blow from which it will never recover; which supposes nothing less than the realization, by all means, of the unity of particular forces that currently confront commodity hegemony, in other terms, to realize the Imaginary Party. For the sole reason that, “in a world of lies, lies can not be vanquished by their contrary, but uniquely by a world of truth” (Kafka), those whom the vocation would only be to destroy have no other choice than to work for the formation of so many “worlds of truth” in the infra-spectacular space, if they mean to become something other than sworn professionals of social contestation. In the midst of ruins, the positive elaboration of forms of life, of community, and affinities independent and superior to the frozen waters of spectacular morals is an act of sabotage, of which the faculty of checking the imperium of abstraction acts without appearing. It constitutes as well, in the present situation, the condition sine qua non of all efficacious contestation, because unless they regroup themselves by mental families, those opposed to this society will have no chance of surviving. From now on, nothing will be able to prevent critical-metaphysicians from rallying to all agitation that explicitly attacks commodity domination, and to foment some agitations themselves. At no price will we renounce perturbing the dreary ceremony of the world. But such acts on our part will be falsely understood if one ignores that they make sense only in the far greater construction of a mode of life where war has its place. The pacific coexistence of all derisions, which makes of this epoch such a strong vomitive, is of the things that we count on bringing to a bloody end. It is not tolerable that truth and falsehood continue to live thus, in peace with one another. The mutual compromises of so many metaphysics, so viscerally irreconcilable, in the baroque edicule of the Spectacle is one of the means that the enemy commands for breaking the most lively. Men must agree on the announcing of their disaccords, trace clear frontiers between different metaphysical fatherlands, and in this manner put an end to the world of confusion, where no one comes any longer to recognize friends or enemies. The interminable disputes of theologians constitutes, from all evidence, a model of social life. The utopia of Tlon does not displease us. We will not accord any value to the love of those who do not know how to hate, nor any peace to those who have never fought. Therefore, in our challenge to act so that “the utopic refusal of the world of convention becomes objective in an equally existing reality and that the polemic refusal obtains thus the form of a structuration” (Lukacs, Theory of the Novel), the search for occasions of quarrel with those whose metaphysics are objectively adverse to ours does not have less importance than the quest for our dispersed brothers in Exile. The object of the authentic community can be nothing but the conscious construction of the common itself, that is to say the creation of the world, or, to be more exact, the creation of a world. This is why critical metaphysicians place such a particular care to compose the ensemble of the true alphabet of which the application gives to things, to beings, and to discourses a signification, in other words to reconstitute in reality a hidden order, such that the existing ceases to submerge them and they present themselves at last under the familiar form of figures, rather than faces, in the sense of Gombrowicz. It is very much a question here of elevating elective affinity until the free construction of a common mode of unveiling of reality. We must make of our individual perceptions and of our moral sentiments a collective oeuvre. Such is the task. But already we have met with the objective sensation of evil, the inexorable shiver of vice, that of fucking a Young-Woman, or shopping in a supermarket. In each of our enemies, the postmodernist, the Young-Woman, the sociologist, the manager, the bureaucrat, the artist or intellectual, all aspects which can enter into the composition of one bastard, we see no more than their metaphysics. Our “power of voluntary hallucination” has passed this degree of coherence where, henceforth, we all speak about what we do- messianic times are nothing else: the resorption of the element of time in the element of sense. Those who believe they can edify a new world without building a new language fool themselves: all this world is contained in its language. Ours does not hide more than the others its imperialist vocations: all poesy, all thought, all imagination that no longer comes to enter into effectiveness, when this has become possible, holds itself even on the far side of the derisory rank of affectation. Roger Gilbert-Lecomte gives to this observation an expression with which we have nothing to take away from: “the birth of concrete thought (experimental metaphysics) in leaving the vision of its artistic expression, will transform its knowledge into power.” He also remarks that “the experimental metaphysician rests on his disequilibrium which gives him so many different points of view of reality.” He speaks justly. A world made of ideas is also a world at the mercy of ideas, as long as they are imperious. The affair that absorbs us, in sum, is the realization of the concrete utopia of a world where each of the grand metaphysics, each of the grand “languages of creation”, between which there is “no surpassing, nor doubling” (Peguy) can at last and in full sense of the term inhabit the world, dispose of a kingdom and lose itself without retinue in inexhaustible holy wars, schisms, sects and heresies, where the immanence of reason in life will be rediscovered, where language will approach Being and Being language, where the metaphysical will no longer be a discourse, but the fecund tissue of existence, where each community will be a fold in a reappropriated common, where man, renouncing to conceal his insoluble relation to the world by the stupid and crude lie of private property, will truly open himself to the experience of anguish, ecstasy, and abandon. That life does not like that consciousness that we have of it, and that the form feels itself still in suffering, denounces the times as well as the duration of its refusal. In regards to us, we announce a world where man will espouse his destiny as the tragic play of his liberty. There is no life more properly human than that. Without any doubt, the critical-metaphysicians carry in their unreason this future of the disaster. And even if we must succumb to the powers that this world will have unleashed against us, we will have at least presaged that happy time when there will be no more metaphysics, because all men will be metaphysicians, living holders of the Absolute. One will understand then that up to now, nothing has happened.